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Israel cabinet approves $2.8 billion for potential strike on Iran nuclear program

February 26, 2023 at 10:45 am

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu delivers a speech on Iran’s nuclear program at the defence ministry in Tel Aviv on April 30, 2018 [JACK GUEZ/AFP via Getty Images]

Israel’s cabinet has approved a multi-year draft general budget which, amongst other things, grants an increase by approximately $2.8 billion for a potential strike on Iran and its nuclear program.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Finance Minister Bezalel Smotrich, and Defence Minister Yoav Gallant agreed on Wednesday night on a multi-year defence budget which will reportedly largely be used to prepare for a potential strike on Iran’s underground nuclear facilities.

According to media reports, Israel is planning to request the United States to sell to it its new GBU-72 bomb, which weighs 5,000 pounds (2,267.9 kilograms) and has the capability to strike underground sites or bunkers.

READ: Israel DM requests budget increase to finance ‘possible strike’ against Iran

The planned purchase had initially been considered in 2021 when that year’s budget allocated $1.5 billion to the Israeli military for the purpose of attaining arms for a potential conflict with Iran. The military continued that aim this year, but requested an additional $3 billion, of which $2.8 was granted.

Netanyahu elaborated that the budget would also result in an alteration in the country’s mandatory military service, mainly through the provision of relevant financial reward for soldiers and officers. The shortening of the period of mandatory service will also apparently be carried out.

The resumption of the plan to purchase the GBU-72 bomb comes particularly at a time when Israel has been openly considering taking preventative military action against Iran’s nuclear program, with Netanyahu seeking to bomb sites and underground facilities in a repeat of Israel’s striking of Iraq’s and Syria’s nuclear facilities in 1981 and 2007.

READ: Iran-backed media outlet reveals ‘sensitive’ sites Iran will strike in war against Israel